Waste collection crews in Somerset are poised to distribute ‘please park carefully’ notes in solidarity with fire service colleagues this week.
Staff working for Somerset Waste Partnership’s new contractor Suez will be putting the polite notices from the fire service on to the windscreens of the rising number of problem parkers.
With the Coronavirus lockdown meaning more people working from home, inconsiderate parking is becoming a big issue for Somerset Waste Partnership and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services.
The cars are often legally parked, but parked in a way that makes it difficult for recycling and rubbish collections trucks to negotiate narrower streets. They have meant collection crews haven’t been able to make some recycling and rubbish collections – and this despite having smaller vehicles at their disposal as part of a new fleet.
If recycling crews can’t get through, fire appliances won’t be able to either. The fire service is becoming increasingly concerned that its crews could be seriously delayed getting to an emergency incident because of inconsiderate parking.
These parking problems are being seen across the county, from small villages with narrow streets to new estates with many more people at home.
Mickey Green/Sarah Dyke from the SWP said: “With the amounts of recycling and rubbish being put out our crews are working really hard. Not being able to collect because they can’t get down a street makes their job even harder and causes disruption to services. We know it can be hard for people to find somewhere to park at the moment, but we would ask people to think about this, especially on their collection day
“For the emergency services it could be a matter of life and death. With more cars at home all day we know it is tough, but please do think when you park.”
Station Manager Dan Taylor said: “We have noticed that an increasing number of homeowners want to park their vehicles directly outside their properties without considering that access may be required for fire appliances in an emergency.
“Some of the streets are narrow even without parked cars. Obviously, the size of our vehicle being what it is, we need slightly more room to manoeuvre than a car.”
The Service is asking people when parking their vehicle to:
• Park close to the kerb
• Leave enough space for a fire engine or an ambulance to pass
• Leave extra room near tight corners
• Fold in your wing mirror
SWP’s depleted crews have been collecting spiralling levels of waste as a result of Coronavirus, with the county’s 16 Recycling Centres temporarily closed. Garden waste collections have been suspended, as have collections of bulky waste and delivery of replacement and new recycling boxes and rubbish bins.
For more information about how oy reduce and reuse your waste, visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/coronavirus For the latest information about services and any disruption visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/coronavirus and follow @somersetwaste on Twitter and Facebook.